Fun, Games, and Victory on 70s Night at Nationals Park

Washington Nationals Park 70s NightAnother crowd of over 30,000 fans turned out last night at Nationals Park for a fun-filled theme night and a thrilling extra-innings victory over the Atlanta Braves.

It was Washington Nationals 1970s night, and the team did a great job of extending the theme throughout the fan experience. 70s-themed music, player introductions, and contests were the order of the night, and even the Nationals Park scoreboard went retro, with a low-definition monochrome look reminiscent of the first JumboTron scoreboards of the era.

Player introduction music was turned into a hit parade of unforgetable (no matter how hard you try) 1970s classics — everything from Isaac Hayes to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

Washington Nationals Park 70s NightNationals mascot Screech traded in his usual white uniform for a scruffier tie-dye look, and Members of the Nat Pack went all out with outrageous wigs and costumes. The players, of course, had to wear their official team uniforms, but
Washington Nationals Racing President Teddy Roosevelt on 70s Night at Nationals Parkthe scoreboard gave fans an alternate view of what each particular player might have looked like with 1970s-era hair and mustache.

When it came time for the 4th inning presidents race, Teddy Roosevelt emerged from the centerfield fence wearing a plaid bandana. Unfortunately, it didn’t provide much help as he fell back from the pack early and had to watch as Abe broke the tape to capture his 40th presidents race victory of the season.

Too many fun photos to share here. For more, check out the photoset on flickr.

Teddy Roosevelt in a leisure suit? Can’t quite picture it.

Saturday night is “70’s Night” for the 2nd game of the series between the Washington Nationals’ and Atlanta Braves and the question on the minds of Nationals Park regulars is “What will Teddy wear?”

After this week’s Manny Ramirez do-rag, expectations may be high for Teddy to dress up for the occasion.

It should be a fun night at the park, with the Saturday night movie following the game. All ticket holders are invited to stay after the game to watch “The Natural” on the huge Nationals Park high definition scoreboard. Concessions, as always, will remain open. See you there!

Teddy Roosevelt as Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez is showing the Nationals League what a magnet of a personality he is.

Teddy Roosevelt’s turn in a Manny Ramirez do-rag for Tuesday night’s game vs. the Dodgers received a lot of attention from bloggers and media. Among the national attention was a photo in yesterday’s Big League Stew.

Now thanks to YouTube member mercerboy we have this excellent video of the race itself.

This one will definitely earn a permanent spot on the presidents race videos page.

Photo courtesy of Megan Snider

Teddy races in dreadlocks to welcome Manny Ramirez to Nationals Park

Manny Ramirez inspired Teddy Roosevelt to run the presidents race in dreadlocksWith Manny Ramirez in town to make his Nationals Park debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Washington Nationals kicked off their nine-game homestand tonight with a Manny-inspired fourth inning tribute.

When Abe, George, Tom, and Teddy were introduced for the Nationals presidents race, Teddy Roosevelt emerged from the centerfield gates wearing a Manny Ramirez-style doo rag and dreadlocks. Urged on by the crowd, Teddy took a quick lead, but found it hard to resist the enthusiastic fans he encountered along the first-base line. When he paused, the other racing presidents quickly passed him. It was tight to the finish, but once again Abe took the tape.

Photo by flickr member Liliang

Post’s Stephen Hunter calls for Nationals fans to turn against the presidents race

With Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers arriving at Nationals Park tonight for another free T-Shirt Tuesday, Nationals fans are holding out hope that the homestand which begins today can help erase their painful memories of the last two home series in which the Nationals were dominated by the Mets and Rockies.

Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post thinks we should hate the Washington Nationals presidents raceIn today’s Washington Post, film critic and author Stephen Hunter writes about the pain and disappointment of following a losing team. Calling himself “an expert on baseball hurt,” Hunter argues that baseball is “just a toothache,” and the only way to cope is to learn to hate. Choosing the object of that hate is the beginning of the mission.

While Orioles fans have a ready-made villain in owner Peter Angelos, it’s not so obvious for Nationals fans. With no history, no curses, and no larger-than-life monstrous personalities to target, Hunter has concluded that Nationals fans must find something else to hate passionately, and his target of choice is the presidents race.

Hunter calls the team’s racing presidents “charmless, awkward, silly, sexless and pointless,” and is encouraging Nationals fans to channel their frustrations by nurturing vitriol against Teddy and his endless quest for victory.

I’ve always enjoyed Stephen Hunter’s writing, but on this point, I think he is deluded by his years of baggage as an Orioles fan. Hunter argues that hatred gives baseball fans purpose and a mission. I’m all for hating the Mets and Phillies, but do we need to hate our own team? A small pocket of presidents race haters has shown up here in the comments and on “About Me” page. What do you think?

Photo by flickr member Ron Hogan

Racing Presidents Run Hurdles to Honor Olympics

Teddy Roosevelt hurdles in Sunday's Olympic-inspired Washington Nationals Presidents RaceIn their last home game to be played during these 2008 Olympics, the Washington Nationals pulled out all the stops to stage an Olympics-inspired presidents race during the fourth inning Sunday at Nationals Park.

If Saturday night’s race-walk didn’t impress you, then the sight of our favorite 10-foot tall racing presidents jumping over hurdles certainly had to. That’s right — hurdles.

In a scene reminiscent of a previous Olympiad, Abe Lincoln, who has whipped the competition this season, emerged during the race introductions wearing Michael Johnson-inspired gold running shoes. Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln each ran the anchor leg of a hurdle relay which was confined to the outfield. Abe beat Teddy to the finish, and was declared the winner along with teammate George Washington. This is the first time a joint victory has been awarded in presidents race history.

I hope at least one of you readers captured this memorable spectacle on video.

Photo courtesy of flickr member Liliang

Teddy disqualified for cheating in walk-race

Last night at Nationals Park, the racing presidents honored the Olympics by running that most difficult of track events — the walk race. After it was announced that walk race rules were in effect, the racing presidents took off — slowly — in a painful demonstration of speed-walking while wearing a 10-foot costume.

Perhaps Teddy Roosevelt was sympathetic to the umpires’ desire to start the 5th inning, but before the pack had even reached the right field corner, he decided to take things into his own hands.

The Nationals Park crowd roared with approval as Teddy cut the outfield corner and broke into a sprint for the finish line. Of course, that buzzkill Screech was there to issue an immediate disqualification, and Thomas Jefferson was granted the victory.

Where is Screech to throw the flag when Abe cheats?

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